Title:
Waste Receptacle With A Bumper to Maintain the Waste Receptacle a Predetermined Distance from a Wall or Other Vertical Surface
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A waste receptacle is described that includes a container, with an exterior and an interior, adapted to receive one or more discarded items within the interior. The waste receptacle also includes a lid hingedly mounted to the container, an actuator, disposed on the exterior of the container, connected to the lid so that manipulation of the actuator opens the lid to provide access to the interior of the container, and at least one bumper, attached to the exterior of the container, to space the container a predetermined distance from an adjacent surface.



Inventors:
Mcgee, John (Richmond, VA, US)
Application Number:
12/058264
Publication Date:
10/02/2008
Filing Date:
03/28/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/263
International Classes:
B65D25/20; B65D43/26
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HYLTON, ROBIN ANNETTE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Barnes & Thornburg LLP (DC) (11 South Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN, 46204, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A waste receptacle, comprising: a container, with an exterior and an interior, adapted to receive one or more discarded items within the interior; a lid hingedly mounted to the container; an actuator, disposed on the exterior of the container, connected to the lid so that manipulation of the actuator opens the lid to provide access to the interior of the container; at least one bumper, attached to the exterior of the container, to space the container a predetermined distance from an adjacent surface.

2. The waste receptacle of claim 1, wherein the actuator is a foot-actuated pedal disposed near a bottom portion of the container.

3. The waste receptacle of claim 1, wherein the at least one bumper is removably attached to the exterior of the container.

4. The waste receptacle of claim 1, wherein the at least one bumper is attached to a bottom portion of the container.

5. The waste receptacle of claim 1, wherein the at least one bumper is attached to the exterior of the container at a point between a top and bottom of the container.

6. The waste receptacle of claim 1, wherein the at least one bumper is attached to the exterior of the container at a predetermined height.

7. The waste receptacle of claim 1, wherein the at least one bumper is attached to the exterior of the container at a point near a top of the container, below the lid.

8. The waste receptacle of claim 1, wherein the at least one bumper comprises two bumpers, spaced a predetermined distance from one another.

9. The waste receptacle of claim 1, wherein the adjacent surface is a wall.

10. The waste receptacle of claim 4, further comprising: a plurality of feet attached to a bottom surface of the bumper.

11. The waste receptacle of claim 4, further comprising: a plurality of protrusions attached to a bottom surface of the bumper.

12. The waste receptacle of claim 11, wherein the protrusions are adapted to engage a woven material to discourage sliding of the waste receptacle with respect to the woven material.

13. The waste receptacle of claim 1, wherein the at least one bumper comprises a material selected from a group comprising an elastomer, a plastic, a metal, wood, a composite material, a rigid material, and a semi-rigid material. Page 11 of 12

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application relies for priority on U.S. Patent Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/920,827, which was filed on Mar. 30, 2007, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention concerns a waste receptacle (or garbage can) with an attached bumper (or bumpers) that positions the waste receptacle a predetermined distance from an immovable obstacle, such as a vertical surface, including a wall.

DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART

Waste receptacles, including trash cans, are available to consumers in a wide variety of different styles.

One common style of waste receptacle or garbage can is commonly referred to as a step-pedal type. For this particular waste receptacle, the user steps on a pedal, typically on the front of the waste receptacle. Application of pressure to the pedal causes the top of the receptacle to open.

Each time a user applies pressure to the step-pedal, however, the waste receptacle has a tendency to move or slide in a direction away from the user. In most cases, this usually means that the waste receptacle moves closer to an adjacent wall.

As should be appreciated by the typical user of these types of waste receptacles, when the lid of the receptacle opens and the receptacle is very near to an adjacent wall, the lid may hit the adjacent wall, leaving a mark or otherwise damaging the adjacent wall.

Depending upon the style of the particular waste receptacle, if the receptacle slides to a position where it abuts the adjacent wall, it is also possible that the lid may be prevented from opening because of the juxtaposition of the receptacle and the wall.

These failings with respect to waste receptacles remain unaddressed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is at least one aspect of the invention to resolve one or more of the failings noted with respect to waste receptacles in the prior art.

In this light, the invention provides a construction for a waste receptacle that maintains the waste receptacle at a distance from the adjacent wall to permit the receptacle to open properly without any portion of the waste receptacle impacting or damaging the wall.

The construction of the waste receptacle of the invention prevents the waste receptacle from sliding toward an adjacent wall.

The invention provides a waste receptacle that includes a container, with an exterior and an interior. The container is adapted to receive one or more discarded items within the interior. The waste receptacle also includes a lid hingedly mounted to the container and an actuator, disposed on the exterior of the container, connected to the lid so that manipulation of the actuator opens the lid to provide access to the interior of the container. The waste receptacle includes at least one bumper, attached to the exterior of the container, to space the container a predetermined distance from an adjacent surface.

The invention also provides a waste receptacle where the actuator is a foot-actuated pedal disposed near a bottom portion of the container.

In addition, the invention provides a waste receptacle where the bumper is removably attached to the exterior of the container.

Next, the invention provides a waste receptacle wherein the bumper is attached to a bottom portion of the container.

In one variation, the invention provides a waste receptacle where the bumper is attached to the exterior of the container at a point between a top and bottom of the container.

In another variation, the bumper is attached to the exterior of the container at a predetermined height.

In still another variation, the bumper is attached to the exterior of the container at a point near a top of the container, below the lid.

According to one contemplated embodiment, two bumpers, spaced a predetermined distance from one another, are affixed to the exterior of the container.

It is contemplated that the waste receptacle of the invention will be disposed adjacent to a wall.

In another contemplated embodiment, the waste receptacle includes a plurality of feet attached to a bottom surface of the bumper.

Also, the invention provides for a waste receptacle with a plurality of protrusions attached to a bottom surface of the bumper. The protrusions are adapted to engage a woven material to discourage sliding of the waste receptacle with respect to the woven material.

Next, the invention contemplates a waste receptacle where the bumper comprises a material selected from a group comprising an elastomer, a plastic, a metal, wood, a composite material, a rigid material, and a semi-rigid material.

Other aspects of the invention will be made apparent from the description that follows and will be appreciated by those skilled in the art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is described in connection with the drawings appended hereto, in which:

FIG. 1 is a side view of a prior art waste receptacle with a pedal actuator;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a first embodiment of the waste receptacle according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a side view illustration of the waste receptacle illustrated in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of a second embodiment of the waste receptacle according to the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a side view illustration of the waste receptacle illustrated in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a side view illustration of a portion of the waste receptacle of the invention, shown with feet added to a bottom surface;

FIG. 7 is a side view illustration of a portion of the waste receptacle of the invention, shown with protrusions affixed to a bottom surface;

FIG. 8 is a top view of a variation of the embodiment of the waste receptacle shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 9 is a top view of a variation of the embodiment of the waste receptacle shown in FIGS. 3 and 4;

FIG. 10 is a top plan view of a third embodiment of the waste receptacle according to the present invention;

FIG. 11 is a side view illustration of the waste receptacle illustrated in FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is a top plan view of a fourth embodiment of the waste receptacle according to the present invention;

FIG. 13 is a side view illustration of the waste receptacle illustrated in FIG. 12;

FIG. 14 is a top plan view of a fifth embodiment of the waste receptacle according to the present invention;

FIG. 15 is a side view illustration of the waste receptacle illustrated in FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 is a top plan view of a sixth embodiment of the waste receptacle according to the present invention; and

FIG. 17 is a side view illustration of the waste receptacle illustrated in FIG. 16.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENT(S) OF THE INVENTION

Various aspects of the invention will now be described. As should be appreciated by those skilled in the art, a discussion of a particular embodiment of the invention should not be understood as a limitation on the scope of the invention. The various embodiments discussed herein are meant to be exemplary. There are numerous equivalents and variations on the embodiments discussed herein that are intended to be encompassed by the invention, as should be appreciated by those skilled in the art.

FIG. 1 illustrates a typical prior art example of a waste receptacle 10 placed on a floor 12, adjacent to a wall 14. The waste receptacle 10 includes a container portion 16 and a lid 18 hingedly attached to the container portion 16. A step pedal 20 is provided on a front of the waste receptacle 10 to open the lid 18. As should be appreciated by those skilled in the art, when pressure is applied to the foot pedal 20, the lid 18 opens in the direction of the arrow 22. As also may be appreciated by those skilled in the art, application of a force to the foot pedal 20 also has the tendency to push the waste receptacle 10 in the direction of the arrow 24 towards the wall 14. If the waste receptacle 10 is close enough to the wall 14, when the foot pedal 20 is actuated, the lid 18 may open and impact with the wall 14, as indicated by the arrow 26.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view a first embodiment of the waste receptacle 28 of the invention. FIG. 3 is a side view of the waste receptacle 28 illustrated in FIG. 2.

As illustrated in FIG. 3, the waste receptacle includes a container portion 30 and a lid 32. To open the lid 32, a user applies pressure to the pedal 34 in the same manner as should be appreciated by those skilled in the art. Typically, the lid 32 is mechanically actuated by the pedal 34. Alternatively, the lid 32 may be opened electromechanically via a motor or similar actuator, as also should be appreciated by those skilled in the art.

In this first embodiment of the waste receptacle 28 of the invention, a bumper ring 36 is positioned at the bottom of the waste receptacle 28. In this first embodiment, the bumper ring 36 is affixed to a bottom surface of the container portion 30, as illustrated in FIG. 3. The bumper ring 36 extends a predetermined radial distance 38 exterior to the peripheral surface 40 of the container portion 30.

In this embodiment, the radial distance 38 is uniform about the periphery 40 of the container portion 30. As such, the center point of the bumper ring 36 coincides with the center point 42 of the waste receptacle 28. As should be immediately apparent, however, the bumper ring 36 need not be centered with the waste receptacle 28. An offset arrangement is also contemplated to fall within the scope of the invention. Where the bumper ring 36 is offset from the center point of the waste receptacle 28, it is contemplated that the offset will be in the direction opposite from the pedal 34. In other words, it is contemplated that a large offset will be presented in the direction of the adjacent vertical surface or wall 44.

With respect to the waste receptacle 28, it is noted that the waste receptacle 28 is depicted as a cylindrical container. As should be apparent to those skilled in the art, this is merely one possible shape for the waste receptacle 28. The waste receptacle 28 may be fashioned in any of an infinite number of shapes and sizes without departing from the scope of the invention.

In the illustrated embodiment, the bumper ring 36 is contemplated to be a circular piece of material that is fastened, either permanently or releasably, to the bottom of the container portion 30 of the waste receptacle 28. Other variations are also contemplated to fall within the scope of the invention, one of which is discussed in connection with FIGS. 4 and 5, below. In variations of the illustrated embodiment, the bumper ring 36 may take any from an infinite number of shapes. For example, the bumper ring 36 may be elliptical, oval, triangular, square, or polygonal.

In the illustrated embodiment, the bumper ring 36 is contemplated to be made from an elastomeric material such as rubber. Elastomeric materials provide a resilient cushion between the waste receptacle 28 and the wall. An elastomeric material also may provide a strong frictional force between the waste receptacle 28 and the floor, thereby discouraging sliding of the waste receptacle 28 when pressure is applied to the pedal 34. It is noted that an elastomeric material is but one contemplated material for the bumper ring 36. Other materials include, but are not limited to plastics, metals, wood, composite materials, rigid materials, and semi-rigid materials, among others.

With respect to the bumper ring 36, it is also contemplated that this portion of the waste receptacle 28 need not be a continuous element attached to the bottom of the container portion. To the contrary, as the name suggests, the bumper ring 36 may encircle the container portion 30 and not underlie the container portion 30. With respect to this contemplated variation, it is also contemplated that the bumper ring 36 is disposed on the container portion 30 at a vertical position above the floor.

FIG. 4 is a top plan view a second embodiment of the waste receptacle 46 of the invention. FIG. 5 is a side view of the waste receptacle 46 illustrated in FIG. 4.

In this second embodiment, the bumper ring 36 has been replaced with a bumper 48. Like the bumper ring 36, the bumper 48 is affixed to the bottom surface of the container portion 30 of the waste receptacle 46. The bumper 48 has a bumper portion 50 that extends from the bottom of the container portion 30 toward the adjacent wall 52. It is contemplated that materials for the bumper 48 are the same as discussed in connection with the bumper ring 36, above. Accordingly, that discussion is not repeated here.

As with the bumper ring 36, the bumper 48 is affixed, either permanently or releasably, to the bottom of the container portion 30. It is contemplated, in one variation of this embodiment, that the bumper 48 may comprise only the bumper portion 50 that extends from the peripheral surface 40 of the container portion 30. In this contemplated variation, the bumper is expected to be attached, via a suitable means, to the container portion 30. Other variations are also contemplated to fall within the scope of the invention.

FIGS. 6 and 7 present two variations with respect to the bumper ring 36 and the bumper 48.

In FIG. 6, two feet 54 are affixed to the bottom surface of the bumper ring 36 or the bumper 48. As should be appreciated by those skilled in the art, a plurality of feet 54 may be employed without departing from the scope of the invention. The feet 54 are contemplated to be made from a rubber material to discourage sliding of the waste receptacle 28, 46 when pressure is applied to the pedal 34. It is contemplated that the feet 54 will be employed in cases where the bumper ring 36 or the bumper 48 are made from a material that does not provide sufficient frictional engagement with the underlying floor.

FIG. 7 illustrates the bumper ring 36 or the bumper 48 with two protrusions 56 affixed to the bottom surface thereof. As should be appreciated by those skilled in the art, a plurality of protrusions 56 may be employed without departing from the scope of the invention. The protrusions 56 are intended to be employed for waste receptacles 28, 46 that are placed on a carpeted surface. The protrusions 56 are intended to engage the carpeted surface to further discourage sliding of the waste receptacle 28, 46 toward a wall when pressure is applied to the pedal 34.

FIG. 8 provides a top view of another variation of the invention. In this figure, a variation of the waste receptacle 28 is presented. Here, the waste receptacle 58 includes a container portion 30, a lid 32, and a pedal 34, all of which are the same as the waste receptacle 28 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. In this variation, however, the bumper ring 60 includes an indentation 62. The indentation 62 creates two points of contact 64, 66 between the bumper ring 60 and the wall 68. With two points of contact 64, 66, it is expected that the bumper ring 60 will discourage rotation of the waste receptacle 58 in addition to preventing contact between the lid 32 and the wall 68.

FIG. 9 provides a top view of another variation of the invention. In this figure, a variation of the waste receptacle 46 is presented. Here, the waste receptacle 70 includes a container portion 30, a lid 32, and a pedal 34, all of which are the same as the waste receptacle 46 illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5. In this variation, however, the bumper 72 includes an indentation 74. The indentation 74 creates two points of contact 76, 78 between the bumper 72 and the wall 80. With two points of contact 76, 78, it is expected that the bumper 72 will discourage rotation of the waste receptacle 70, in the same manner as the variation presented in FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 is a top plan view a third embodiment of the waste receptacle 82 of the invention. FIG. 11 is a side view of the waste receptacle 82 illustrated in FIG. 10.

The waste receptacle 82 includes many of the same elements as the prior embodiments. Specifically, the waste receptacle 82 includes a container portion 30, a lid 32, and a pedal 34. The waste receptacle 82 also includes two bumpers 84, 86. The bumpers 84, 86 are affixed to the peripheral surface 40 of the container portion 30. The bumpers 84, 86 are positioned at a predetermined height 88 from the bottom of the container portion 30. Each of the bumpers 84, 86 present a point of contact 88, 90 with the adjacent wall 92.

FIG. 12 is a top plan view a fourth embodiment of the waste receptacle 94 of the invention. FIG. 13 is a side view of the waste receptacle 94 illustrated in FIG. 12.

As should be apparent to those skilled in the art, this embodiment is a variation of the third embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 11. In this fourth embodiment, the waste receptacle 94 includes a container portion 30, a lid 32, and a pedal 34, as with other embodiments. The waste receptacle 94 includes two bumpers 96, 98. The bumpers 96, 98 are affixed to the peripheral surface 40 of the container portion 30. The bumpers 96, 98 are positioned at a predetermined height 100 from the bottom of the container portion 30. Each of the bumpers 96, 98 present a point of contact 102, 104 with the adjacent wall 106. As is immediately apparent, the bumpers 96, 98 are spaced further apart than the bumpers 84, 86 provided in the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 11.

FIG. 14 is a top plan view a fifth embodiment of the waste receptacle 108 of the invention. FIG. 15 is a side view of the waste receptacle 108 illustrated in FIG. 14.

In this fifth embodiment, the waste receptacle 108 has a container portion 30, a lid 32, and a pedal 34, just as in prior embodiments. Here, however, the waste receptacle 108 is provided with a single bumper 110. The bumper 110 is disposed at a height 112 from the bottom of the container portion 30. The bumper 110 is shown as a rectangular block with a width 114 and a thickness 116. As in the prior examples, the bumper 110 is intended to engage an adjacent vertical surface or wall.

FIG. 16 is a top plan view a sixth embodiment of the waste receptacle 118 of the invention. FIG. 17 is a side view of the waste receptacle 118 illustrated in FIG. 16. The waste receptacle 118 has a container portion 30, a lid 32, and a pedal 34, just as in prior embodiments. As with the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 14 and 15, the waste receptacle 118 is provided with a single bumper 120. The bumper 120 is disposed at a height 122 from the bottom of the container portion 30. The bumper 120 is shown as a rectangular block with a width 124 and a thickness 126. As in the prior examples, the bumper 120 is intended to engage an adjacent vertical surface or wall.

With respect to the invention, the bumpers described herein are expected to be made from an elastomeric material, such as rubber. Of course, as discussed, the bumpers may be made from any other suitable material including, but not limited to, metals, wood, composite materials, rigid materials, and semi-rigid materials, among others. In addition, while several embodiments of the invention include a bumper with a single point of contact with the adjacent wall, incorporation of at least two bumpers or a bumper with two or more points of contact with the wall offer additional stability features. As should be appreciated by those skilled in the art, with two or more points of contact, the bumper helps to discourage rotation of the associated waste receptacle. Finally, it is contemplated that a waste receptacle might include two or more of the bumpers discussed herein to add further stability with respect to the adjacent wall.

As may be appreciated by those skilled in the art, one or more features of the many embodiments discussed herein may be combined in ways too many to discuss in detail here.

As noted above, those skilled in the art should readily appreciate that there are equivalents and variations of the embodiments discussed above that may be practiced while remaining within the scope of the instant invention. Those equivalents and embodiments are intended to be encompassed hereby.